Podcasts

Welcome to Bodmin Keep War Stories!

A podcast series where we tell the intriguing and surprising stories behind the collection at Bodmin Keep.

Find out how ordinary soldiers played their part in some of the biggest conflicts of the last century, from the impact of war on everyday life, to tales of extreme courage and daring!

DCLI_Band

Music, Military & Morale

Podcast 1

Hear about the essential role military musicians played in wartime, from issuing vital commands on the battlefield to keeping up morale among troops and, just like other soldiers, carrying out acts of extreme bravery and daring.

There’s a cheeky version of a favourite wartime song, a cross-dressing music hall star who encouraged young men to sign up for the First World War; and the story of how a legendary American entertainer came to Bodmin to entertain the troops in 1943, and we’ll hear a newly recorded version of a recently rediscovered First World War tune, the DCLI Boys.

Music, Military & Morale
Berlin_Wall_ Photograph_GDR Museum

The Berlin Wall

Podcast 2

2019 was the 40th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Many fragments of it were taken by souvenir hunters. One of the biggest pieces in Britain ended up at Bodmin Keep. In this episode we’ll hear from soldiers and civilians who were there when the wall went up at the height of the Cold War, and when it came down again amid huge celebrations in 1989.

The Berlin Wall
Bob Hope Audience in the rain at Bodmin barracks, D Day, WW2

Cornwall's D-Day

Podcast 3

Cornwall’s maritime might and strategic coastal location made it far from remote when it came to D-Day operations. Find out how the county experienced an invasion of its own – from thousands of American GIs. Hear which celebrities visited soldiers at Bodmin Keep during training for the Normandy Landings. And discover how a sleepy Cornish village was transformed forever after being chosen as an embarkation point by troops leaving Britain to liberate France from the Nazis.

Cornwall's D-Day
The History of the Barracks - an historic image of the exterior of The Keep

School for Spies

Podcast 4

Bodmin was alive with Russians at the height of the Cold War when the town became home to a school for spies! Hundreds of Britain’s brightest young men came to learn Russian in order to translate Soviet radio transmissions for GCHQ. Playwrights Alan Bennett, Michael Frayn and Dennis Potter were among those who passed through as part of their National Service. Flamboyant Russian lecturers staged avant garde plays in the local church and one even married a local girl.  

School for Spies
LGBT

Gay & in Uniform

Podcast 5

It’s now more than 20 years since the ban on gay people serving in the armed forces was lifted. But what was it like for gay and lesbian people serving before that? We hear about the lives of gay men in the two world wars, how the army was an escape from society’s heterosexual norms for lesbians and what museums are doing today to make their collections more representative of everyone who has served their country – gay or straight. And a gay soldier tells us how joining the army gave him the strength to finally become his real self.

Gay & in Uniform
History of Bodmin keep Podcast

History of Bodmin Keep

Podcast 6

Two world wars, intelligence training, an influx of Americans and a mishap with a hungry dog and a crocodile handbag – all part of the rich history of Bodmin Keep.

When the building was first erected in 1859 it was a blueprint for a modern and healthy training centre. Since then, thousands of troops have come here to ready themselves for duty, before being dispatched to all corners of the globe. It’s been a depot, a training centre, a spy school and a home for 100s of GI’s.

In this episode, we’ll find out why Winston Churchill raised eyebrows when he paid a visit to Bodmin Keep.. listen to find out more… 

History of Bodmin Keep